Armaan Ebrahim notched another podium in the penultimate round of the Lamborghini Super Trofeo series on Saturday, but a drive-through penalty in race two prevented him from taking double glory in Shanghai.
Ebrahim and co-driver Dilantha Malagamuwa had an impressive, but a compromised weekend at Sentul International Circuit last month, where the duo scored a podium finish in race one before a last-minute tyre deflation prevented them from repeating their heroics in race two.
The Indo-Sri Lankan pair were, hence, looking for a clean weekend in Shanghai, and the duo duly qualified in third place for race one, away from the clumsy midfield that typically leads to first-lap mayhem. However, the two could have qualified higher up the grid, had Ebrahim’s final flying lap not being interrupted by traffic.
“In the first qualifying session which decides where we start in the first race, I did my fastest lap on my first flyer,’’ Ebrahim reflected on qualifying.
“The next lap should have been the lap, but I was blocked. Nevertheless, I was happy with P3, just three-tenths off the pace.”
Podium in race one
In race one, Ebrahim comfortably held his third place grid spot, staying within touching distance of the first two-runners, while not allowing anyone to get closer to his rear.
In the second stint, he handed over the car to teammate Malagamuwa, who brought it safely to the chequered flag, after briefly losing third place.
With race winner Afiq not classified for driving without a teammate, Ebrahim and Malagamuwa were promoted to second place, bagging 12 points as a result.
“The race start was ok,’’ Armaan said. “I ran through with the leaders and opened a gap to the guy in fourth. After the pitstop, Dilantha was under some pressure and actually lost a place, but did well to fight back and regain the position.”
Drive-through penalty for collision
Ebrahim started the second race from a mediocre seventh place, but stormed through the field in customary fashion, rising up to third.
In an attempt to gain second position, the Indian driver made contact with a rival, spinning him off the track and earning a drive-through penalty.
The Indian - along with his capable Sri Lankan teammate - then fought back, finishing an impressive fourth, given the time lost in the pits.
“I had started the race from seventh position and moved up to third. I then went for the second position and, in the process, had a side-by-side contact with another competitor who spun,’’ Ebrahim explained the incident.
“I was subsequently handed a drive-through penalty which I served immediately. I then pushed hard before handing over the car to Dilantha who then did a consistent job to bring the car home in fourth position.
“We were very disappointed at the penalty, for I thought it was purely a racing incident, but then, that is motorsport. There was nothing we could do.”
After the Shanghai double header, Ebrahim stays in third place in the championship. He will be seen in action again at final round of the season at the historic Sebring International Circuit in the United States.
“We hope to do well in Sebring next month. As always, we will give it our best shot and see what comes out of it,’’ he concluded.